When my friends in my home state of Arkansas ask me how I like living in Miami, I give them the same answer - I love it, because I have always wanted to live in a foreign country.
Miami is the melting pot of the Caribbean. It is the number one place where immigrants from Cuba, Haiti, the Bahamas, Jamaica, Nicaragua, Belize and Columbia decide to live once they reach the U.S. Miami is an exciting, international and great place to live. More than 50% of the residents here are Hispanic. The dominant personality of the city is unquestionably Cuban - we have a Cuban Mayor, Cuban Judges, Cuban politicians, Cuban restaurant and shop owners.
The heart of our firm - our office manager - is 100% Cuban.
Most Cubans living in Miami live here because they were dispossessed from their native country in the early 1960's. Not surprisingly, the most hated person in the world according to the people of Miami - is Fidel Castro. However, people in Miami are questioning the blockade of Cuba which has existed for close to 50 years.
Yesterday the Guardian newspaper in the U.K. ran an interesting article about ending the blockade - Time for the Cuban Travel Ban to Go. The article cited a poll indicating that most Americans support easing travel restrictions to Cuba - Poll: Three-Quarters Favor Relations with Cuba
Part of the blockage involves the prohibition of U.S. based cruise ship sailing to Cuba. So it was with interest I read an article, US Blockade Stops Cruises from Landing in Cuba," written by a Cuban reporter about the cruise industry and the effects of the ban against U.S. ported cruise ships sailing to Cuba. Here is the article:
"Thousands of cruise ships sail the waters around Cuba every year, but few of them are able to anchor in the island because of the US economic, financial and commercial blockade.
Granma newspaper said the Torricelli Law approved by Washington sanctions ships from any country that dock in Cuban ports by banning them from putting in at the US for six months.
The Cuban daily comments that 98 % of Caribbean cruises are controlled by the American industry and 70 % of liners sailing in the region have Florida as mother port.
According to Granma, in 2006, when the American cruise company Royal Caribbean bought the Holiday Dream ship from the Spanish Pullmantur Cruceros, more than 50 crew members from Cuba were not allowed to work onboard anymore.
This way, Pullmantur Cruceros put an end to its contract with the Cuban company ARIES Transportes S.A. of the Ministry of Transportation, which had established that the Holiday Dream would make 52 stopovers every year in Havana and Varadero's harbours.
Cuba´s location, the conditions of its ports and hotels and the historical and cultural wealth of its people are winning cards for the development of the cruise industry of the island.
If the US blockade didn't exist, more than 1,000 cruise ships could land in the Cuban ports every year generating a traffic of 1,2 million passengers.
According to figures by the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association, Cuba would have an income of 125 million dollars a year."
Although the U.S. prevents cruise ships to sail to Cuba, there are German and British cruise ships which sail to the Cuban ports of Havana and Santiago.
Has anyone cruised to Cuba? Do you have photos or video to share?
Credit: Escambray - Digital newspaper of Sancti Spiritus province, Cuba